Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, come in much later than other permanent teeth, usually between the ages of 16 and 25. As a child passes into adulthood, he or she is thought to be bestowed with greater wisdom. Hence, the name wisdom teeth!
Some wisdom teeth only partially erupt and some don’t erupt at all. In the latter case, the tooth is considered impacted, buried beneath skin and in some cases even bone. Some people are not born with any wisdom teeth at all!
Impacted wisdom teeth are the most common. If left alone, they present a much higher risk for infection, damage to nerves and other teeth, or other issues down the line such as cysts and other pathological conditions. If wisdom teeth are partially erupted, they are more prone to getting decay due to the difficulty in brushing and food getting stuck way back in the mouth.
However, if the child has good dental health, hygiene, and the wisdom teeth are normally developing, we often opt to monitor the teeth. This is often discussed with a local oral surgeon.
Each patient’s situation is unique, and we encourage you to make an appointment so we can properly discuss your child's particular needs with you.